MOUNT HOLLY – There were plenty of reasons to believe the Moorestown High School boys soccer team was in some trouble.
Down by a goal with 15 minutes to play, the Quakers were seemingly being dominated by Rancocas Valley, which held a one-goal lead heading down the stretch.
The one player who seemed unaffected, however, was Quakers senior forward Jack Broker.
“I wasn’t worried,” Broker said. “I knew we were getting opportunities. We were building up well, and everyone wanted it, and I knew we still had a chance.”
And so Broker took charge.
He scored one goal with 15:03 to play and another with 8:52 remaining to lift the Quakers to a 2-1 win over the No. 6 Red Devils in a Burlington County Liberty Division game.
According to Broker, the Quakers approached the game with a lot of passion.
“Everyone stepped up for this game,” he said. “We were all ready to play. Honestly in the last two years they’ve always killed us. This year we kind of made it our goal as a team to bring it to them – especially here on their home field.”
Broker’s performance did not surprise his coach, Mike Randall.
Now in his third year as the Quakers’ head coach, Randall says he’s seen Broker improve his game with each passing year.
“I think this year he’s really stepped up,” Randall said. “Over the past two years he’s been one of our best players, but this year he’s had to be the best player, and he’s doing it.
“He’s leading the practices; he’s always there. He’s got this passion to win and that’s huge for any team. He can play on any team in New Jersey.”
Broker does not shy away from his place as a team leader. He says there are plenty of others who contribute to the team, but if they look to him for leadership, then so be it.
“I’ve got a lot of guys around me who are very talented,” he said. “I just play my role. I played my role tonight.”
Before Broker could get the offense going, it was left to senior goalie Noah Afonso to keep his team in the game.
He was under a lot of pressure throughout.
“RV is a great possession team,” Broker said. “They control the ball so well and they’re so creative. We just kept fighting and fighting.”
Rancocas finally broke the scoreless tie when J.C. Johnson put in a head ball off a throw-in from Noah Tous with 25:39 remaining in the game.
Afonso, too, spoke about the contributions Broker has made to the team this season.
“He’s a great leader,” he said. “He comes up clutch for us all the time. This is not the first time he’s brought us back into a game, and not the first time he’s put us in front for a game. He’s always stepping up for us.”
Broker scored the tying goal one a hard shot from about 20 yards out with an assist from Vince Capporola.
“The ball just lined up for me perfectly,” Broker said. “It popped out at the 18, and right when I saw it come out, I had my right foot there and I buried it.”
It was a surprising moment considering the Quakers had manufactured very few chances until that point.
His game-winner came on a shot from close inside with an assist from Sean Carden. This time Broker took a pass just left of center and he went high to beat goalie Nick Mulkay.
“Carden made a great play on the sideline,” Broker said. “He crossed it in and I knew I had time. I took a touch and I saw the goalie coming toward me, so I just put it over him.”
Burlington County Liberty
Rancocas Valley 0-1-1
Goals: Moorestown, Jack Broker 2, RV: J.C. Johnson. Goalies: Noah Afonso, M, (8 saves), Nick Mulkay, RV, (4 saves)